On a cold wintry night with the hills still heavy with snow, I warmed up by testing out a French truffle special at Buvette.
Twice-baked Gruyere and truffle souffle
At $75 a head, this special three course meal at Buvette was not frugal – even with a complimentary lavender scented Lillet Mode de Vie cocktail and amuse bouche (tarted up toasties made with brioche, brie and truffles). But lest anyone think I have strayed from paying off my mortgage by Christmas, I was on a date, the venue suggested and booked at his insistence (and who am I to argue?) He is a regular business luncher at Buvette, and tells me he chooses it for its consistently good service and widely spaced tables. But this was my first visit.
Lavender scented cocktail Lillet Mode de Vie
We chose to share our meals so that we could experience a little bit of everything. Entrée was a delicate serving of scallop with cauliflower puree and truffle. The truffle shavings on all the dishes were relatively generous, but the scallops (at two a plate) much less so. Still I thought it was a nicely done delicate combination. The steak tartare served with raw egg and extra bread (and truffle) was everything you would expect a steak tartare to be: raw, fresh, with a slight kick to it. This was a manly caveman meat dish not to be eaten smugly in front of vegetarians.
Scallops with cauliflower puree and crispy duck wing
Wagyu bourguignon surprised as a modern, deconstructed version of the staple French casserole made famous by Julia Childs. It was good, and paired well with our bottle of Chain of Ponds The Amadeus 2010. But the bourguignon was eclipsed by the twice-baked Gruyere and truffle soufflé. I almost didn’t order this as a main as it sounded more like an entree, but it was rich and soft and filling. I found myself still scraping at the outside edges of the bowl for even though I was full. “Do you think you could make this?” my date asked hopefully as he polished off the rest.
Both desserts were served with sweet black truffle ice-cream. I would have liked my ice-cream harder and less melty; its texture was more like a semi-freddo crossed with a milkshake. Still we scooped up every last drop. The Spanish chocolate tart was thick and dark and moreish, even if the serving only had a small rectangular slab. The crème brûlée adorned with latticed toffee and flowers looked pretty, yet disappointed. While textually creamy and rich, yet I felt cheated that I didn’t get to make a decisive crack in the toffee crust. And it tasted a little ho hum without the toffee contrast.
Creme brûlée with truffle ice-cream
Spanish chocolate tart with truffle ice-cream
What: Buvette Restaurant
Where: 18 National Circuit (Realm Precinct)
Opening hours: breakfast 6.30am daily; open until 10.30pm Tuesday to Saturday (although closed for a few hours on Saturday afternoon). Truffle will feature on the menu throughout the Truffle Festival, which ends on August 27.
Phone: (02) 6163 1818